Skip to main content

See also:

Warning! A sneak peek at Jack the Ripper: The Forgotten Victims

Mary Jane Kelly is believed to be the fifth and final victim of Jack
Mary Jane Kelly is believed to be the fifth and final victim of Jack
Author's collection

You don't know jack.
But it's time to know more about Jack.
The number of women murdered by Jack the Ripper is impossible to know, although most researchers now agree on five individuals. These five canonical cases have been examined at length in Ripper literature, but other murders and attacks bearing strong resemblance to the Ripper slayings have received scant attention. In Jack the Ripper: The Forgotten Victims, to be published March 25 by Yale University Press, these unsolved cases are the focus.
Authors Paul Begg and John Bennett devote separate chapters to a dozen female victims who were attacked during the years of Jack the Ripper’s murder spree. Their terrible stories—a few survived to bear witness, but most died of their wounds—illuminate key aspects of the Ripper case and the period: the gangs of London’s Whitechapel district, the lives of Victorian prostitutes, the public panic inspired by the crimes and fueled by journalists, the medical practices of the day, police procedures and competency, and the likely existence of other serial killers. The book also carefully considers crimes around the world that were initially attributed to Jack the Ripper, notably in New York, Jamaica, and Nicaragua.
Begg and Bennett examine the compulsive drive to find the identity of the Ripper, which continues today. They consider suspects identified at the time of the killings as well as those fingered by later researchers. They look at several important theories, and reveal the lengths to which some have gone to claim success in identifying Jack the Ripper.
The Ripper crimes occurred at a key moment in history—a moment when forensic science was too primitive to catch the killer, and when the new mass media could create a shared sensation of fear and titillation. Interest in the murders has continued unabated into our own time. Written by acknowledged experts on the Whitechapel murders, and shedding particular light on the lives of women in London’s East End, Jack the Ripper: The Forgotten Victims is an important and fascinating addition to the Ripper literature.